These companies are focusing on people with disabilities

Thursday is Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

In 2011, a web developer named Joe Devon posted a blog entitled, "CHALLENGE: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW."

That post kicked off what’s known as Global Accessibility Awareness Day, celebrated on the third Thursday of each May.

Now in year eight, here's what brands and agencies are doing in honor of the holiday. 

Getty Images’ Disability Collection breaks new ground

Last year, Getty Images, in partnership with Verizon Media and the National Disability Leadership Alliance, launched The Disability Collection, a gallery of images dedicated to accurately portraying individuals with disabilities. Twelve months later, the collection has reached 1,000 photos.

Getty Images has also seen an increase in disability-related searches on its website in the last year, with the term "disability" up 98% from 2017 to 2018. New search terms have also appeared since the gallery launched, including "learning disabled," "intellectually disabled" and "disabled employee."

Verizon Media found that 69% of consumers feel it is important that ads are accessible to people with disabilities and only 37% of consumers think that the representation of people with disabilities in advertising is adequate.

Getty Images, Verizon Media and the National Disability Leadership Alliance want to champion greater disability representation online, in media and in ads, and ask others to join in on the conversation.

Branding agency Applied helps the visually impaired

Applied, a branding agency headquartered in New York, is committed to making the world a better place.

To live up to this, the shop created a font for The Braille Institute for people who are visually impaired. The font, which is free for anyone to access, is named Atkinson Hyperlegible, after J. Robert Atkinson, who founded the Braille Institute of America in 1919.  The pro bono effort aims to create better reading experiences for those who are blind or have low vision.

Applied describes itself as a group that applies its "collective expertise and imagination to solve problems in ways that are creative, purposeful and beautiful."

It added: "To put it another way, we find solutions that are as practical as they are magical, and then we make them happen."

MCD Partners’ dedication to accessibility

For digital marketing and experience design agency MCD Partners, the focus on accessibility goes way beyond one day per year.

The shop practices accessibility as a standard element of every client project. One way MCD Partners shows its dedication is by designing and building websites to be accessible by all and auditing websites for compliance with the Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

"Accessibility is an important consideration in any designed product or experience. There are ramifications from not making an accessible website, such as a potential fine or a lost customer, yet it is important to go beyond meeting the bare minimum practice," James Warren, digital intelligence director at MCD Partners. "There is never a good reason to overlook accessibility and it should always be viewed as a standard practice."

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